Pan-spinal infection: a case series and review of the literature

Chien Yew Kow, Patrick Chan, Greg Etherington, Lu Ton, Susan Liew, Allen C. Cheng, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld

Abstract

Background: Panspinal infection usually presents with fever, back pain, neurological deficit, and in advanced cases multi-organ failure and septic shock. The choice of treatment for panspinal infection is challenging because these patients are usually medically unstable with severe neurological compromise. The objective of this study is to review management and long term outcomes for patients with panspinal infection.
Methods: A retrospective review of patients with panspinal infection treated in our center over a 5-year period [Jan 2010–Dec 2014] and a review of the current published literatures was undertaken.
Results: We identified 4 patients with panspinal infection. One case was managed medically due to high perioperative risk, whilst the other three were managed surgically whilst on antibiotic therapy. All 3 cases managed surgically improved neurologically and infection subsided, whereas the patient managed medically did not change neurologically and infection subsided.
Conclusions: Patients with panspinal infection should be treated surgically unless the medical risk of surgery or anaesthesia is prohibitive.